Thursday, February 19, 2009
Off The High Horse
Sometimes I get a bit on a baking high horse. Perhaps you know the pony I'm referring to. It's snobby about ingredients, pretentious about equipment, and takes itself way too seriously when it comes to technique. But then I encounter a recipe that makes me climb off the high horse (thank goodness, I really don't like heights) and touch ground again.
My mother-in-law gave me a recipe years ago that is soooo simple that I thought was too easy to be good. All the ingredients are things that I would have in my cupboard or refrigerator. No special shopping trip required to hunt down an ingredient. A mixing bowl, a grater, and a 9 x 13 pan are all it calls for. If you have a KitchenAid, that's a bonus, but it's not required. And as for technique, it's basically a dump cake. You put all the stuff in the bowl, you stir, you pour in the pan, you bake. C'mon, even my six-year old could do that!
But the best part is the cake that comes out of the oven. It's fabulous. Moist, fragrant, studded with raisins. It's perfect for snacking, for tea time, or for dessert. Or breakfast, if my son gets his way. (Well, hey it's got fruit in it, so that's a healthy breakfast, right?) And if you feel like this was just too easy and a delicious cake needs more effort put into it, you can drizzle some homemade caramel sauce over the top.
Pat's Grated Apple Cake
5 cups grated apples*
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 cups sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla
1-1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp soda
1 cup raisins
1- Preheat oven to 350 deg. F. with a rack in the center of the oven. Grease a 9 x 13-inch pan.
2- In a large mixing bowl combine all the ingredients. Mix until well blended. Pour into the prepared pan.
3- Bake for 45 to 60 minutes. The cake should be set, the top golden. A toothpick inserted near the center should come out without batter clinging to it
* You can peel the apples, if you like, but I don't. It saves a step and gives a lovely color to the cake to leave the skin on. If you have a KitchenAid grater attachment or a food processor grater, this is a wonderful time to use it. Just core the apples, cut into quarters and throw them into the machine. You'll have 5 cups grated apples in no time! But don't despair if you don't have either; a box grater works just as well, only a little slower.